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Two Park Slope lawmakers are pushing legislation that would prevent another secret slaughter of geese this summer.
The act, which was introduced last week by Councilmen Brad Lander and Steve Levin (D–Park Slope), forces the city to consider public input before taking “wildlife management” action like the mass killing of close to 300 Canada geese last summer in Prospect Park.
“These decisions should be made in the light of day,” Lander said. “Not the cloak of night.”
That outlook was echoed by wildlife advocates and park watchdogs, who hope the newfound transparency deters a second “culling” in Prospect Park.
“It’s tremendously positive,” said park watchdog Ed Bahlman, adding he only wishes the law had more teeth. “It’s an important step.”
The legislation was drafted in response to the secret massacre last July, a slaughter that was done in the name of aviation safety, yet still shocked many members of the public with its ferocity, breadth and middle-of-the-night execution.
Under the legislation, the city would be required to form a wildlife “advisory board” with 11 experts, ranging from academics to animal rights advocates. Three would be appointed by the mayor and three by Council Speaker Christine Quinn; the remaining members would be culled from the parks and sanitation departments.
The bill would also require the drafting of a “citywide wildlife management plan” that would promote “biological diversity” and “humane treatment” of animals. Nothing binds the city to act on what the board advises, however.
Prospect Park officials have already taken steps toward humane waterfowl population management — such as egg “addling” and using dogs to deter geese — but the city has still not committed to ditching its “catch and kill” contract with federal authorities, much to the disappointment of local lawmakers.
“Canadian geese should be treated like guests in our borough,” said Levin. “[Culling] is no way to treat a guest.”
The bill follows up on a letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg in early March that called on the administration cancel its plans to kill more geese.
“We are requesting that you … commit not to cull,” the letter read.
The Bloomberg administration has still not responded.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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